Whole life-cycle costing: DCHSC case study

The Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCHSC) at Ryerson University represents a colossal leap forward in sustainability standards, broadening the boundaries of urban development.

Built to serve as a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration, the complex is a multi-functional development consisting of academic, residential, and administrative space. Completed in 2019, just in time for the start of the new school year, the DCHSC also represents a well-executed whole life-cycle costing project, the first such project completed by Turner & Townsend in Canada. This includes comprehensive cost management services that went beyond the standard domain of the business’ consultancy.

Whole life-cycle costing at a glance

Simple at its core yet complex in execution, whole life cycle costing takes into account price models for the entire lifetime of a project. As expectations around performance and sustainability increase, the need for accurate cost projections becomes more critical in determining the futureviability of similar projects.

As a practical example, detailed planning throughout the preconstruction and construction phases of a project help to offset operational costs. Furthermore, material selection will determine maintenance, repair, and replacement expenses. A key aspect of life cycle calculations is projecting how sustainable building choices can meet the needs of the present without compromising future performance.

Whole life cycle costing consists of a period of analysis and comparisons against historical data to determine key variables for accurate forecasting. This data can be used as benchmarks in future initiatives for planners and developers to refer to for the selection of building materials, systems, and processes.

Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex. Photo: Nikita Ovsyannikov

Inside DCHSC

Designed by renowned international architectural firm Perkins + Will, the DCHSC is a mixed-use building located on the north intersection of Church and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto. The new complex rises up dramatically from the city; a clear demonstration of maximizing the potential of limited land assets within an intensifying urban core. The dramatic and unique building form is arranged into a cluster of units that are home to four Ryerson University schools: the School of Nutrition, the School of Occupational and Public Health, the Midwifery Education program, and the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. The conscious architectural choice to interweave research facilities, student residences, and complimentary programs encourage cross-disciplinary connections and interaction between both students and staff, offering inspiring environments for study, work, and research.

From a sustainability perspective, the DCHSC features many state-of-the-art innovations. These led to the achievementof LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. The DCHSC includes a fully-accessible green roof where students studying nutrition can grow fresh produce and where researchers can examine soil quality, food production, and the effects of urban greening.

Energy efficient solutions include on-site micro-turbines to produce electricity, comprehensive systems for monitoring power usage, the capacity for local energy-storage that can fully power the building if the city grid fails, and grey water collection to minimise water usage. Carbon dioxide levels are monitored to determine air quality and composition. A metering system carefully collects data on all elements of the system to help identify new opportunities for future sustainable initiatives. The complex is the first building owned by Ryerson University to make use of chilled beam technology for air distribution. This system reduces dependence on electricity and fossil fuels while keeping temperatures pleasant and air fresh. The below-grade parking facility includes electric vehicle charging stations to help promote the use of alternative fuel sources from students and faculty.

Inclusivity is another cornerstone of the complex. All rooms, from student residences to classrooms, are fully accessible. Tactile surfaces help direct visitors who may be visually impaired, and assistive listening technology is available for those who are hard of hearing — accessible through either wireless headphones or a phone app. The building includes 100 residential units to house 3,322 students in apartment-style suites with modern amenities.


The preceding is an excerpt from Turner & Townsend’s 2020 Canadian Market Intelligence Report. Reprinted with permission.

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